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chris wagner

Chris Wagner

“I have been a paying customer for SiteGround since October 2017.

I am monitoring SiteGround’s shared hosting servers for Uptime and Performance through my website hostingpill-sg.website.

This review of SiteGround is based on actual testing done on their servers and interaction with their customer support.”

This SiteGround Hosting Review was revised and updated on June 19, 2019.

Ah, SiteGround. If you’ve been looking into web hosting lately, there is no way you haven’t stumbled across this name.

Easily one of the biggest names in the world of web hosting, it can be a little hard to know where to start.

It’s mostly stayed out of the news, minus its vocal opposition to the United States bills SOPA and PIPA a few years ago (if you’re unfamiliar, it was in good company here, joining many major online companies in protest).

If it’s stayed out of the news though, it definitely has not stayed out of articles and reviews. It’s just too notable to not hear about if you’re curious about this stuff. In fact, SiteGround is one of the biggest names in hosting, supporting over 2 million websites.

But is bigger always better? How many online SiteGround reviews can you really trust anyway? What makes SiteGround stand apart from some other top names?

Of course, I can’t fully answer those questions, but I hope to at least shed some light about SiteGround nonetheless.

Keep reading to learn more about my thoughts regarding this hosting giant.

Siteground Cons

If you’ve become used to me by now, you’ll know that I tend to start with the bad news first. Don’t worry though! This part is pretty short.

I think the main drawback of SiteGround is that it can be a bit expensive. It’s not shared web hosting plans are kind of pricey, but at least those are the kind of things you expect to invest in.

Shared hosting is another thing people are willing to invest in, but you also can expect pricing to be more affordable. True, SiteGround’s shared plans are indeed inexpensive compared to its other hosting plans, but relative to other companies’ shared plans, SiteGround’s are a bit pricey.

Other than that, the shared plans’ 30GB storage allowance cap is a pretty annoying drawback. In the scheme of things, is it a minor drawback?

siteground
Well, yes. But considering how much is offered, is it really so hard for SiteGround to just grant unlimited storage for at least the highest tiered pricing accounts? Or at least more storage, or SSD storage if it has to be limited?

Other than that though, I don’t have any strong remarks. Ease of use is something I think is fairly neutral, and not quite a con, but I’ll put it here anyway—it’s easy to use, but could be a little more user-friendly for customers new to the world of hosting.

Not so bad right? Let’s get to the fun part.

Siteground Pros

For the fun part, I’ve got a little bit more to talk about.

As far as pricing goes, it’s nice to see something fairly simple and consistent with the same three tiers across the different hosting products.

Additionally, the normal shared web hosting, if you can commit to a year, is at least not too far off the market norm. Nothing SiteGround offers are too far from normal, and the features usually make the prices worth it.

Features are a plus for SiteGround, which offers a strong suite of tools to use, many of which are available from the lowest tiered “StartUp” account.

shared hosting purchase

Customer support is a definite plus for SiteGround, as not only are the representatives responsive and informative, the online documentation in the knowledge base, tutorials, etc, is very extensive and helpful.

While normally SiteGround isn’t much easier to use than any other host, it’s exceptionally easy for using WordPress.

Finally, security is also something SiteGround does well, as it seems to take an extra step in securing its users data. Plus, SiteGround offers a lot of performance boosters.

Overall, a lot of strengths to talk about. You don’t need to take my word for it though—let’s go a little more in depth as to why.

Security and Reliability

Security is everything and something almost all of us with an online presence need to be concerned with if we are not already. This is especially the case for people looking into hosting services.

I’m happy to say that Siteground is very strong when it comes to security.

Siteground has a 99.99% uptime, so you don’t need to worry about your site going down. I guess that’s also industry standard, but hey, it’s still pretty nice.

SiteGround Uptime by Pingdom

I have been monitoring SiteGround Uptime over the last 18 months. Here below you can see the history:
siteground-uptime-2019

  • May 2019: 99.99%
  • Apr 2019: 99.99%
  • Mar 2019: 100%
  • Feb 2019: 100%
  • Jan 2019: 99.96%

siteground-uptime-2018

  • Dec 2018: 99.99%
  • Nov 2018: 100%
  • Oct 2018: 100%
  • Sep 2018: 99.99%
  • Aug 2018: 100%
  • Jul 2018: 100%
  • Jun 2018: 100%
  • May 2018: 100%
  • Apr 2018: 100%
  • Mar 2018: 100%
  • Feb 2018: 100%
  • Jan 2018: 99.99%
  • Dec 2017: 100%
  • Nov 2017: 100%
  • Oct 2017: 100%

SiteGround Uptime Score: Last 20 months, detailed data you can see here.

Siteground gets a plus because they innovated secure account isolation for web hosting, so it seems reasonable to me that 10 years later, they should still have some of the strongest isolation among hosting services.

Siteground uses Linux containers and makes a special note of the fact that patches they made to Linux Kernels were incorporated to the official Linux Kernel code—so it’s safe to say the tech is pretty up to date.

Their server monitoring is allegedly faster and more routine than typical server monitors, and though they’ve been criticized for back-up features many users found lacking, in 2015 they implemented their own backup system that seems to be a big improvement. They’ve also got an anti-bot AI for brute-force attacks.

Not to mention, SiteGround takes very good care of its servers physically.

Aside from the security protocols, SiteGround has put in place, it also offers a lot of performance and security-boosting applications for its customers. I’ll cover some of these later in the article, but the performance boosters are really great.

Standard and WildCard SSL are also provided for free, regular backups are free, and extra protection is sometimes included by default in certain plans.

Full disclaimer, I’m not a security expert. Nonetheless, it does seem to me that Siteground has a team that really works on its defenses, strong ones that the company is quick to name on their website, and that makes me feel much more at ease with Siteground.

Customer Support

I think SiteGround really does well with customer support. Forget the hosting industry— SiteGround’s customer support is standout in general.

Why do I say that? Aside from normal customer service options like phone support, SiteGround provides extensive resources and documentation, extensive even for a hosting company.

There’s a set-up wizard for account set up you’ll encounter, but there’s also a webinar series, step by step tutorials, and a “knowledge base”—basically hundreds of FAQs and help articles.

Meanwhile, it doesn’t slouch on the people it employs either: live chat and 24/7 phone service are available for instant replies, and sending in tickets will usually give you a response in a few minutes.

When you’re in contact with a representative, you’ll see their information—name, experience, special strengths, etc.

Though anecdotal evidence can only get you so far, I personally found the live chat very responsive.

siteground contact1

When you request a live chat, you need to enter an email and username (if you are not a current customer) and your question, though I was annoyed by the fact there’s a character limit for your question. Soon after, a chat page will open and you should have a response.

siteground contact2

siteground contact3

After you finish your discussion, you’ll have the option of getting a transcript of the conversation sent to your email, which I thought was pretty unique and highly useful in case you forget what was discussed.

Customer support isn’t exactly equal between accounts. Higher tier accounts—such as for more expensive shared hosting, cloud hosting, or dedicated hosting—get priority customer support. As a matter of fact, everything but the entry-level gets VIP support. Luckily, even standard support is relatively fast and helpful.

Overall, Siteground has very strong customer support and I rank it as one of Siteground’s winning traits. Extensive online documentation as well as responsive and helpful representatives really give Siteground strong customer support functionality.

Siteground Plans and Features

Note: If you’ve read my Siteground vs. Bluehost review, you may find some of this a bit familiar. Nonetheless, let’s go over the pricing structure.

Siteground offers a lot of hosting options, from services like email hosting, to app hosting (WordPress, Joomla, etc), to normal web hosting.

The main price variation is in the main web hosting services:

Shared Hosting Plans

Features
StartUp
GrowBig
GoGeek
Disk Space 10 GB 20 GB 30 GB
Bandwidth Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Panel cPanel cPanel cPanel
Number of Websites 1 Unlimited Unlimited
Price $3.95/mo. $5.95/mo. $11.95/mo.

Shared web hosting, the service hosting options (email hosting, PHP hosting, etc), and app hosting (WordPress, Joomla, Magento, etc).

The first is StartUp at $3.95 a month, GrowBig is second at $5.95 a month, and GoGeek comes last at $11.95 a month. Keep in mind that these are the initial prices, but renewal prices are higher. For example, StartUp renews at $11.95 a month.

The first is StartUp at $3.95 a month, GrowBig is second at $4.55 a month, and GoGeek comes last at $8.95 a month.

  • StartUp offers 1 website, 10GB of web space, is suitable for around 10,000 monthly visits, and contains the “essential” (meaning basic) features.
  • GrowBig offers multiple websites, 20GB of space, should be good for around 25,000 monthly visits, and awards you premium features in addition to essential features.
  • GoGeek also allows multiple websites, but gives 30GB of space, allows for roughly 100,000 monthly visitors, and gives “Geekly Advanced Features” in addition to premium and essential features.

Things sound pricey at first. Renewing at $11.95 is a bit much for a first-tier option, but when you take into account the “essential” features, it’s not so bad.

SiteGround shared hosting

Daily backups, Cloudflare CDN, and SSL and HTTPS are all included for free from the entry-level point onwards. This instantly sets SiteGround’s entry-level web hosting plan above most of its competitors’.

Plus, when you take into account the amount of visitors sites are equipped to handle per month (keep in mind it’s an estimate) and the Premium or Geeky features (which mainly add performance boosts, priority technical support, free backup restores, PCI compliance, and some more advanced features), SiteGround’s shared hosting plans justify the prices with their features.

Note that the SSL certificates for shared hosting are free and standard by default. However, you can switch to free Wildcard SSL at any time.

The 10-30GB storage allowance turns some people off right off the bat (from StartUp to GoGeek you will be capped at 30GB). I find it unfortunate that the highest tier is capped at 30GB, but most people will find they can work within that constraint. It’s just realistic to the nature of shared hosting, which inherently has limited resources.

But that’s the only limitation of note. As mentioned, both second and third tier accounts can host unlimited websites, and all accounts get unlimited MySQL databases. That’s pretty generous, and when you take into account the included backups, SSL, and so on, the shared hosting options are a pretty good deal.

Additionally, even from a first tier shared hosting account you get a drag and drop website builder, and unlimited sub and parked domains, which I thought was handy—you can go back to my other SiteGround vs. Bluehost article to see how this compares to Bluehost, a top rival of SiteGround.

The latter two tiers get a free website transfer. You can do this on the first plan, but it’s paid. It’s useful for those who want the assurance that a technical support team can provide. Luckily, if you’re using WordPress, it’s pretty easy to transfer a site without technical support (more on that later).

Spoiler alert: SiteGround wins this one.

In fact, you even get basic e-commerce software with a StartUp account and a lot of features for developers. Oh, and you get unlimited email accounts for even a basic account, whereas most competitors will put have a cap for the entry level packages.

Finally, SiteGround employs unique, company-built security tools that I would consider strong features of the service (you’ll read about them soon enough, just keep it in mind).

Features
StartUp Plan Include
Free Website Builder
Free Cloudflare CDN
cPanel & SSH Access
24/7 Technical Support
SSD Storagen
Free Daily Backup
Unlimited Email Accounts & DBs
Visit SiteGround

So overall, the shared hosting plans are quite strong. The prices are a bit high for people looking explicitly for budget options, but for anyone else, SiteGround’s shared plans could be a great deal. Of course, that’s not all SiteGround offers.

Cloud Hosting Plans

Features
Entry
Business
Business Plus
Super Power
CPU 2 Cores 3 Cores 4 Cores 8 Cores
RAM 4GB 6GB 8GB 10GB
SSD Space 40GB 60GB 80GB 120GB
Data Transfer 5TB 5TB 5TB 5TB
Price $80.00/mo. $120.00/mo $160.00/mo $240.00/mo

Cloud hosting, for example, starts at $80.00 a month in a four-tiered system that reaches to $240.00 a month,

siteground cloud

The first tier grants you 2 cores, 4GB memory and 40GB SSD space, which I consider reasonable but honestly not the best deal I’ve seen. If you need to transfer a lot, the 5TB allowance is pretty generous, however.

As you choose higher plans, the allowances get more reasonable. I’d consider most of these latter plans about average in terms of given resources per price, and the first tier actually not a great deal.

SiteGround also offers custom enterprise-grade solutions for those who are interested.

If you really love SiteGround’s performance and trust it, you might as well trust SiteGround for cloud hosting. If you’re interested, however, you can probably get a better deal on cloud hosting checking out some other options.

Luckily, SiteGround’s dedicated hosting plans aren’t bad.

Dedicated Hosting Plans

Dedicated hosting starts at $269.00 a month for the first tier and ends at $729 a month for the third tier, but prices (and the availability of such servers) depend on the location of the data center.

siteground dedicated

siteground dedicated asia

Yeah, I won’t lie: these are large price tags. Keep in mind, of course, that dedicated servers typically have the highest price tags.

The tradeoff is probably worth it. If you’re serious about getting a dedicated server, SiteGround’s have great specifications and pricing plans allow plenty of resources. I do wish there were more options, but that’s a minor complaint.

Server Locations:

  • Chicago
  • London
  • Amsterdam
  • Singapore

A Note on WordPress

Aside from the main types of hosting offered by SiteGround, there’s something important you should know about SiteGround: it’s great for WordPress. So good, in fact, that WordPress.org itself recommends SiteGround.

WordPress is a free content management system that is enormously popular. It’s popular because it lets you edit a ton of stuff about your site, it’s free, and it’s overall straightforward to use even for beginners.

Sound perfect, right? The catch is that if you use the free WordPress software, you need hosting first. Almost every major host supports WordPress, but SiteGround stands above the rest—hence its recommendation by WordPress. But why is it so special?

SiteGround excels at making it easy to get started using WordPress on SiteGround, whether you’re a first time user or someone transferring a site.

SiteGround offers a free plugin that makes it super easy to transfer an existing WordPress site and higher-grade support for those interested in transferring more information than a WordPress site alone.

siteground wp migrator plugin

For those starting from scratch, it’s about equally easy. SiteGround has a fast automated installer for getting the actual WordPress software onto your SiteGround account quickly.

Once you do that, you can use another free tool, WordPress Starter, to pick some themes and key functionalities (like contact forms, portfolio pages, etc)—these things will be automatically installed.

WordPress is already easy to use in my opinion, but it can still be inefficient in some ways, and require a user to connect a lot of different parts. For a new user, it can be frustrating and inefficient—so having WordPress starter is a great asset for those new to WordPress.

Even if you’re not a new user, some other SiteGround tools make it a great WordPress host.

siteground wordpress performance boost

Some of SiteGround’s default settings make it optimal for WordPress sites, but in addition to that, there are some extra options and tools you can select to boost performance even further.

The SG Optimizer plugin is a good example: it’s included for the latter two shared hosting tiers, and can seriously reduce your page loading time. SiteGround already has WordPress supercacher service for higher tiers, which enables SG optimizer to reach its full potential. It also helps with search engine rankings.

Finally, SiteGround handles security and updates really well, and not just for the servers. WordPress is a software that usually involves a lot of other smaller pieces of software—plugins, and themes—and all of them frequently require updates at different times.

SiteGround will securely update WordPress and some of your plugins automatically if you opt for it, which can save a ton of time (trust me, it’s a pain to manually update different plugins every week).

All those tools, plus SiteGround’s overall solid performance, is part of what makes it one of the best hosts for WordPress.

So overall, SiteGroud is looking pretty strong in the features department. It’s true that prices for a lot of SiteGround’s different hosting plans look a bit high. For shared hosting, in particular, I think SiteGround’s prices are a bit higher than normal.

However, unless you’re looking specifically for a budget option, SiteGround’s quality and features make such prices well worth it. This includes shared hosting, of course, but is especially true of its cloud and dedicated options. And if I didn’t emphasize it enough, SiteGround is great for hosting WordPress.

Ease of Use

Look, ease of use is something I rarely have to comment on. This is because strong user-friendliness is an industry gold standard. Just about every online service, even non-hosting services, intentionally design themselves to be easy to use for the average person.

So ease of use is something I talk about mostly as a way of noting if a company is falling below the standard. If not, I don’t really have anything to say.

Thankfully with SiteGround, I don’t have anything to say.

The website builder that’s included has taken points from other popular website builders and is pretty intuitive.

Everything else involved in managing your accounts is very easy and straightforward.

siteground-cpanel

As I mentioned earlier, the WordPress Starter application is one example of how SiteGround makes WordPress very easy for beginners (or fast for those with experience).

siteground wp starterAnd of course, whether you’re on a shared plan using WordPress or buying the most expensive dedicated server you can, SiteGround does a lot both via automated tools and its staff. This includes maintaining and updating the server itself, the software you use directly, and everything in between.

I’m sure that some people will have some issues here and there with technical terms, especially if they’re new to the hosting world, but mostly it should be pretty easy to navigate, especially with such strong customer support.

It’s not that SiteGround is exceptionally easy to use, and in fact it could probably be a little more user friendly, but overall I can’t imagine anyone having too much difficulty with it either.

Conclusion

Ah, so here we are at last—the concluding section! Let’s dive right into the wrap-up.

Pricing is bit mixed, as the non-shared hosting is on the pricier side and even the shared web hosting is on the pricier side depending on how long you’re committing. That aside, if you get the popular one-year deal, you’ll be paying competitive/lower prices.

Features are a plus for SiteGround, with a strong suite that is distributed well across the three main pricing tiers, though the storage limits can be annoying. A lot of SiteGround’s best features and perks come into play for WordPress.

Customer support is a definite strength with such extensive documentation online and the additionally helpful representatives on live chat, email, and phone support.

Security is the last major strength of SiteGround, but it’s still a good strength. It seems to be that SiteGround goes above and beyond industry standards for its security tools and protocols.

Ease of use is something mostly neutral—it’s not hard to use, but could be a bit easier for more novice users. WordPress is, of course, the exception and is very easy for beginners.

Overall, I think SiteGround definitely deserves its spot as one of the top hosting options.

It is not excessively expensive, at least not for most popular options, and offers a very strong package that should leave most people, whatever their range of technical ability, feeling satisfied.

 

Summary
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